Sunday, February 25, 2018
Sports

Florida Gators enter NCAA baseball tourney as top seed

NEW YORK — Florida heads into the NCAA tournament as college baseball's top team.

The Gators appreciate the honor, but they're interested only in finishing No. 1 at the College World Series.

"I think that we have a good team," coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. "I think that we had a good year. I'd agree with everybody that I don't think we have played our best yet, which is encouraging."

Florida (42-18) was selected Monday as the top seed for the 64-team tournament and will host one of 16 four-team, double-elimination regionals that begin Friday.

"That was a very close vote," said Kyle Kallander, chairman of the Division I baseball committee. "The committee really discussed at length who deserved to be that No. 1 overall. There were several deserving teams."

The other national seeds, in order: UCLA, Florida State, Baylor, Oregon, North Carolina, LSU and two-time defending College World Series champion South Carolina.

"We had four teams that were in serious consideration for that last top national seed, that No. 8 seed," Kallander said. "It was very competitive in the evaluation process."

Kallander said the Gators' overall body of work — including a 21-10 record against top 25 teams — put them in front of the field.

History has not been kind to the No. 1 overall seeds, though. Only once has a top seed gone on to win the College World Series: Miami in 1999, the first year the NCAA went to its current tournament format.

Florida and South Carolina are among a tournament field-leading eight SEC teams, including Arkansas, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt.

The ACC is second with seven teams: Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, North Carolina State and Virginia.

The 16 regional winners move on to the best-of-three super regionals. Those eight winners advance to the College World Series, which begins June 15 in Omaha, Neb., at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha.

Miami (36-21) is in the tournament for the 40th straight year, extending its own record, while Florida State is making its 35th consecutive appearance.

Loyola wins men's lacrosse title

Unranked at the beginning of the season, Loyola of Maryland is No. 1 at the end.

Loyola beat the University of Maryland 9-3 to win the men's lacrosse national championship Foxborough, Mass., three months after the Greyhounds opened the season miffed at being overlooked in preseason polls.

"We knew what we had in our locker room through the whole year. It's just been an unbelievable journey," said Eric Lusby, who scored four goals and set an NCAA record with 17 in the tournament.

Loyola a run from unranked to No. 1 seed and finally national champion. The top-seeded Greyhounds captured their first NCAA title. Loyola (18-1) was in the title game for the first time since losing to Syracuse in 1990.

Maryland's three goals were the fewest allowed this season by Loyola, which shut out the Terrapins (12-6) for the final 40 minutes and 40 seconds of the match. The Terps lost in the title game for the second straight year.

The two Maryland schools are separated by about 30 miles, but it was only their 21st meeting and first since the Terrapins' 19-8 victory in the 1998 national semifinals.

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